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THE RECKONING HOUR
—MATTHEW 25:14-30—OCTOBER 9—
Golden Text—”His Lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
THIS study follows the one of last week. It also illustrates the fact that Messiah at his Second Advent, before appearing to the world in power and great glory and in the time of trouble, will be present amongst his consecrated people and many of them will know of his parousia, or “presence,” in this time. He will do amongst them a judging work—deciding their rewards in proportion to their faithfulness. It is well that we keep in memory the difference between the parable of the pounds and the parable of the talents. Both represented money. But a talent is sixty times as valuable as a pound. In the parable of the pound, each servant got one pound, but in the parable of the talents the numbers given varied. In some respects all of God’s people have one common footing and common privilege of service, as represented by the pound. In another respect their opportunities, privileges and advantages vary, as represented in the present study, the parable of the talents.
This is another parable of the Kingdom. The Great Teacher himself went into the far country, even heaven; but before departing he delivered unto his servants certain blessings, privileges, opportunities—”to each according to his several abilities.” The beginning of this parable was in the days of the Apostles when Jesus ascended up on high and at Pentecost shed forth in the Father’s name the holy Spirit, communicating a blessing upon each one of his followers, as represented in the talents and opportunities of each follower. All through this Gospel Age these servants have been making more or less use of their privileges and more or less wisely exercising themselves to serve the Master. Some traded with their talents, or used them in preaching, teaching, etc. And others hid them in the earth, perhaps under cares and responsibilities. After a long time the Lord of these servants cometh and reckoneth with them. This long time is the Gospel Age, and the presence of the King in the end of the Age to hear the report of his servants and to reward them represents the parousia (or presence) of Messiah and his testing, sifting work in his Church. We should distinctly note that this testing and proving is not of the world, for Christ never recognized any as his servants, except the consecrated. Many Christian people believe that we are now in the time when the servants of the Lord are rendering
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up their accounts, and when he is saying to some, “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joys of thy Lord,” and when he is saying to others, “Thou wicked and slothful servant … take ye away, therefore, the talent from him, and give it unto him that hath the ten talents.” But all of this testing and rewarding of the servants of Christ is manifestly prior to any outward manifestation of the King in his glory, because the worthy ones are to share with the Master in his glorious manifestation and this testing must demonstrate the worthy ones, in advance of the revelation in glory.
TO RULE OVER EARTH’S CITIES
The one who had received five talents and used them wisely, energetically, faithfully, loyally, doubled them and was invited to share in the Master’s joy and glory. His reward would be to sit as a ruler of many. In other words, the service of the present life is but an insignificant one in comparison to the glorious service which awaits the Lord’s faithful people in the future—when they shall sit with Messiah in his Throne and, as kings and priests, bless and instruct and uplift and control Israel and all the nations of the world. The approval of the one who was given two talents and who was equally faithful, was in equally kind and benevolent terms. He also was a good and faithful servant over a few things; he also would be set as a ruler over many things; he also might enter into the joy of his Lord. The servant who failed to use his talent was branded as wicked and slothful. He knew in advance that the talent was given him for use and because he had professed to be a faithful servant. His failure to use the talent proved him disloyal, unfaithful. It was, therefore, taken away from him.
It is not for us to presume to say that the Lord will have no blessing whatever for that unfaithful servant. He was a servant all the time. He respected the talent. He did not lose it. But he did not use it properly. He seems to represent a very similar class to
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the one described in our study of a week ago as the foolish virgins. This class will fail to get into the glories of the Kingdom, but will surely get into the time of trouble and its outer darkness, disappointment and chagrin, with which this Age will end and the New Age be ushered in. The Lord grant that this lesson may help some of his consecrated servants to be more faithful, more careful, in the use of their consecrated talents, that they may glorify the Lord and hear his “Well done” in the end!
One difficulty with many of us in the past has been fear of the Master. We should have gotten better acquainted with him. We should have learned more respecting his real, true character and his purposes. If now the eyes of our understanding are opening, if now we are seeing the beauty of our talents and privileges of service as never before, let us quickly dig the talent out and wash it free from all soil of the earth and use it earnestly, zealously, vigorously, for the praise of our King, redeeming the time, knowing that the days are unfavorable.
— October 1, 1910 —